While many people have speculated that this new decade will be all about mobile devices, there have been just as many that feel that this is all hype and that mobile won’t be that important. Well, it seems that at least one company seems to be betting on it indeed being the main focus for some years, and if the rumors are true, it may be making a very big move to prove it.
According to survey results released by the Pew Institute in Dec. 2009, the Internet leaders, activists and analysts that were surveyed said they felt that mobile devices would be the primary way that people access the Web by 2020. Beyond the obvious need for even more cellular equipment to be rolled out around the country, that is going to also mean a lot more devices being sold over the next ten years, and that is where it seems the rumors about Best Buy and Radio Shack come in.
Last week The New York Post reported that Radio Shack might possibly be shopping around for a buyer at around $3 billion on a market cap value of $2.7 billion. While there is a chance that the company might possibly do a strategic repurchasing of its company stock, the more prevalent rumor circulating is that big box retailer Best Buy is talking with Radio Shack.
It seems that Best Buy has wanted to experiment with more specialized stores in smaller markets to meet the growing demand for mobile devices. One banking source close to the deal said, “This is all about handheld devices. A whole new wave of these products are coming out and they’re going to break the monopoly of the carriers.”
If this was to come true, it would also mean that Best Buy would get in to a lot of smaller markets that were never possible for it to try before. While my town has a Radio Shack, the closest Best Buy to me is 90 miles away, so a purchase of the aging Radio Shack chain would give them immediate entrée in to a lot of rural towns.
In preparation for this article I swung by my local Radio Shack, something I hadn’t done in ages, and I have to say that by the looks of the front third of the store, the transition to a mobile world has already happened. Cell phones, chargers, accessories and so on was all you could find in the front of th store, and the stuff it used to be famous for like transistors and other miscellaneous little parts had been shoved into a dark back corner. I can see why they were trying to feebly attempt to get people to stop calling them “Radio Shack” and just make it “The Shack” a little while back as it has about next to nothing to do with radio any more.
This is but one example of how retailers are giving us a hint that the move to mobile is real. My local Walmart has also increased its selection of various cell phones as of late, and just about anywhere you go, cell phones are up for sale. It seems that the retailers are convinced of this trend, and a handful of Internet experts, but if companies are talking about making commitments like this, there is obviously something to all of this.
What say you? Will mobile take over? What do you think about the potential Best Buy deal?